VIDEO-DIARY Of the International Travelling University „Europe – Place for Future” – Chiprovtsi 2017

For nine years in a row, the Travelling University of the Place for Future education network has gathered students, teachers and researchers from various countries (including Bulgaria, France, Germany, Great Britain, Slovakia, Poland and China) in the town of Chiprovtsi and the Western Stara Planina region in Bulgaria. The Travelling University is interdisciplinary, aimed at scholars and civic activists from diverse areas of knowledge and expertise.

Shtastlivetsa Association has organized interdisciplinary summer schools, lectures, seminars, student practices and internships, debates, and artistic happenings—all dedicated to the new paradigm of Sustainable Development. Some of our topics have brought together ecohumanism, new science, alternative culture and education, innovative forms of democracy and civic participation, ecology and environment quality.

Join the Travelling University at place.for.future @ gmail . com

For FB users – You can join also at:

Right us here:

or join our fb group here

Itinerary and Schedule of

our Travelling University ‘Europe – Place for Future’ 2017 in Western Stara Planina and Chiprovtsi (20 – 25 May 2017)

20th May: travelling  Sofia – Izvos – Belogradchik – Chiprovtsi

  • Leaving Sofia at 7h45
    • Introducing  practices for sustainable development near the village of Izvos, architect Georgi Georgiev’s passive house
    • Lecture: architect Georgi GEORGIEV (Cobb-Plymouth University, England, Center for Earth Architecture and Multi-family Solar Buildings – ISES – European Summer Architectural Academy, Freiburg, Germany):  ”Building the Future: The Earth Architecture in Bulgaria and EU.
      • Please take note that the lunch is not included this day. You are invited to bring your own picnic that you can enjoy with other participants near architect Geogiev’s house.
      • Visit of the Belogradchik fortress/rocks
      • The night of museums – Historical museum Chiprovtsi

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21st May:  Building Bridges: Lectures dedicate to interdisciplinary education, and to Europe as a place for development of creative skills and architecture

  • Lecturers:
  • Stoil Tzitzelkov (European Association for Deffend of Human Rights), Wellcome lecture
  • architect d-r Gergana Stefanova (Department of Architecture at New Bulgarian University)“Sustainable development and modern architecture”
  • Milkana Meskin (artist, Master’s Degree, Textile Specialty, Holistic center AVIR): “Power of the colors”
  • Team work
    • Lunch break

22th May: Development of social sciences

    • Lecturers
    • d-r Radosveta Krastanova (Director of Centre francophone at New Bulgarian University): “Europe, beyond the stereotypes”
    • Etienne Ciapin (PhD Student at Pierre-Mendès-France University, Grenoble, France and Matej Bel University, Banská Bystrica, Slovakia“European Union space: from margins to alternatives”

23th : Lectures dedicate to local/global development

Lecturers :       

Jordanka Zamfirova  (CHAR Association, Chiprovtsi):: Local development problems in rural arias”

  • Genadi Kondarev (Co-director of Za Zamyata/Environmental Association For the Earth): Fossil energies and sustainable development”
    • Team work
      • Lunch break
    • Visit of the local mines
    • Team work

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24thMay : Celebration of 24th of May in the local school “Petar Parchevich”; lectures and demonstrations related to the local crafts and the route to carpet.

  • Day dedicated to national and local culture and Chiprovtsi carpet craft
    • Lecturers:
    • Nikola Nikolov (Petar Parchevich School, Chemistry and Biology teacher and local researcher form Chiprovtsi) : “Plants and natural wool colouring

    Yulia IGNATOVA, (master carpet maker).: “Carpet production and traditions

    • Celebration in the local school “Petar Parchevich” of of 24th of May, the  Bulgarian education and cultural Day and Slavic alphabet
    • Team work
      • Lunch break
      • Visit of the Middle age  church „Saint Trinity” and its secrets, village of Belimel
      • Team work
      • Culinary contest: everyday knowledge and local sources used in local development

Celebration of the  Bulgarian Education

25th May: Concluding lecture and final discussion; travelling Chiprovtsi-Vratsa – Sofia

  • Lecturers:         (optional - Sasho Draganov : Tourist brand “Stara Planina”)

dr. Desislava ALEKSOVA (International Business School – Botevgrad and Shtastlivetsa Association): “Tourism and West Stara planina”

dr. Petar Kanev (Institute for the Study of Societies and Knowledge at BAS and University of Library Studies and Information Technologies): “Building Bridges: The Educational Network as a Place for Creating our European Future”

  • Lunch break (you have to come to the restaurant with all your luggage, ready to leave Chiprovtsi)

13:00 Leaving Chiprovtsi

  • Visit of Ledenika cave in Nature park “Vratsa Balkan”:
  • Closing discussion

Arriving in Sofia around 20h00

The organizers keep the right to bring small changes to the program. For weather reasons same activities could be rescheduled or replaced by others.

The working language is English.

For more information about the International Travelling University you can check our web site or on the following phone numbers: 0878 605 831 Elena Tsitselkova and 0886 347 274 Dessislava Aleksova.

For Inscriptions:


  • Fill in the form from the link below

  • You have to cover 50lv. participation fee before 10th of May


  • Free transport during the Travelling University, Sofia –Chiprovtsi-Sofia and in the Chiprovtsi region;
  • Lectures, demonstrations, outdoor activities, visits of cultural and historical sites
  • CD with all final student works (pictures, presentations, articles, video)
  • Attendance Certificate


  • To cover your accommodation fee, between 60 and 90 lv for all 5 nights. In case you choose the option “accommodation organized with our assistance”, you can choose your guesthouse from the provided list.
  • To cover your meals: 50lv for organize lunch, dinar on your own and your personal expenses.
  • You need comfortable shoes for hiking, warm clothes for the evenings and rainy days. It’s a mountain region; the evenings could be really cold, as days could be shiny and hot.
  • Do not forget your smile and your good mood.



The food in the Chiprovtsi’s restaurants is cheap with good quality. There is possibility to prepare your own food in some of the guest houses. You can find in the shops a homemade wine, rakia, white and yellow cheese on a very good prices. In the evening it’s possible to organize a BBQ or a fireplace party in the mountain. If you play on any musical instrument, please feel free to bring it, we will be happy to enjoy your music.

There are two ATM and a pharmacy in the town. We will be allowed to use a stadium in a very good condition for free, under condition to have appropriate chooses.

Our working language will be English, with interpretation in Bulgarian during our discussions with the local community.

The transportation of all participating students (by a 50-seat bus) will be covered by the organizers.

Participants need to pay in advance 25 Euro (50 leva).

We recommend that you bring at least 100 Euro (200 leva) for personal expenses (especially food); personal IDs (including an international passport); shoes suitable for the mountains; clothes for rainy or cold weather; sunscreen; anti-insect spray or another insect repellant.

We kindly ask anyone with specific food (vegetarian, vegan, non-dairy, allergies, etc.) or health needs to let us know about them in advance.

Our 2017 Travelling University is sponsored by the following partners of Shtastlivetsa Civic Association:

  • New Bulgarian University
  • Centre francophone at New Bulgarian University
  • AUF – Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie
  • Talant Campus, France
  • Municipality of Chiprovtsi

Our team includes scientists and lecturers from the following educational and scientific institutions:

  • Pierre-Mendès-France University, Grenoble, France
  • University Montesquieu (Bordeaux IV), France
  • University of Burgundy, France
  • University of Craiova, Romania
  • Matej Bel University, Banská Bystrica, Slovakia
  • Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland
  • New Bulgarian University, Sofia, Bulgaria
  • University of Library Studies and Information Technologies, Sofia, Bulgaria
  • Institute for the Study of Societies and Knowledge at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Bulgaria
  • La Maison des sciences de l’Homme, Dijon, France
  • Za Zamyata Environmental Association, Bulgaria

as well as experts from NGOs, business partners, representatives of the local community, and outstanding individuals with invaluable practical experience in various fields.

Taking part in our Travelling University allows students and volunteers to:

  • spend a week working in an international team, with like-minded people from various European universities;
  • participate in discussions on topical issues (sustainable regional development, cities in transition, new communities, new forms of citizen participation, new social and cultural practices);
  • gain knowledge and experience from established scientists, young researchers, experts coming from various fields and from the local community;
  • get familiar with the unique natural and cultural heritage of the region of Western Stara Planina;
  • experience inspiration and adventure, build new friendships, engage in intercultural communication that brings joy and hope;
  • work in interdisciplinary teams, develop their skills in communication, mutual enrichment, and communal solidarity;
  • help accomplish practical tasks that will benefit the development of the region and their own personal growth.

Our team will be happy to welcome volunteers to the Travelling University 2017. Candidates who wish to have part of their costs covered by the organizers need to send a motivational essay and afterwards attend an interview with a member of our team. Volunteers who cover their own expenses are also welcome.

We have been weaving, like a Chiprovtsi carpet, the Place for Future education network, a community drawing its inspiration from a young tradition: the International Travelling University in the Municipality of Chiprovtsi and the region of Western Stara Planina in Bulgaria. Our aim and passion is promoting cooperative culture and sustainable living. This means providing information and inspiration but also knowledge and reflection for those seeking a community, forming communities, struggling with the challenges of the new communal shapes, or wishing to develop a greater sense of community in their workplace or the various environments in which they live and communicate.

In 2017, the Travelling University will take place from May 20 till May 25.

You can sign up for joining at: place.for.future @ gmail . com (Attendance is limited :) )

For Facebook users:

A Transdisciplinary Education Network for Sustainable Development and Civic Participation, established by the Shtastlivetsa Sofia Civic Association and its partners.

CHIPROVTSI  Travelling University

which is a collection of scholars and students from mainly Sofia HE Institutions, who form the Shtastlivetsa Civic Association.
It’s interdisciplinary and incorporates a wide range of subjects and fields from sociology, anthropology, ecology, archelogogy, philosophy, English, public admin and so on.
There were professors and participants came as far from France, Germany, Greece, Serbia and even myself and my student Jim from institutions in South Korea (even though we are from Scotland and China).

Nonetheless, the international mix worked well, I certainly had no difficult understanding anyone, Jim got an opportunity to study with other students whose 1st language was not English either, which all culminated in a group presentation on an objective task. It was very much a ‘classroom without walls’ there was not too much authority, the students thrived in the such conditions of trust, and demonstrated that they not only had the enthusiasm to deliver to task, but also good presentation skills and ideas to carry it all off at the end.

For Jim it was a chance to use some English and some of the skills he had learned as an undergraduate, to deliver an idea or information in second language, based on his own and the views of his group members. While for me it was interesting observation into the exploration of alternative pedagogical approaches beyond the confines of a classroom to see how students behave and perform under certain conditions where there are no grades at stake or some authority figure bending and shaping or dictating what should be done and how it should be done.

The result was a very intersting experience not just doing school like work out in the field, but learning a lot of aspects into the life of the people who lived there, the skills and crafts they had, their personality, outlook, their pride in themselves and their lifes, their hopes, fears and so on. It was also something that you not only look or listen to, but you taste, feel and smell (it is the countryside after all…and all 5 senses work outside the class, not the just the basic primary ones….feeling grass between your feet, tasting homemade country foods, smelling the mountain morning mist, feeling the sun….and lots of stuff.

So, I definitely gave the ‘Traveling University’ an A+ . In fact ithe whole notion of a non-static education to me, is a complete no brainer, what’s more important is that the youth (and old timers like me) better get their skates on and learn a lot of things they don’t teach practically in universities otherwise they’ll be gone, they’ll just crumble and die…and that would be a tremendous loss to humanity really.
It’s the old Joni Mitchell thing….”you don’t know what you got till it’s gone”

Kids need to learn this knowledge (and skills if they can), like where food comes from and how things are made…and the importance of ecology to a sustainable life.

I’m a bit sad, my new job will mean I won’t have time this year to go to this years event, but I will certainly keep in touch and hopefully do more research on alternative and experiential learning approaches (as students get a lot out of it, I’ve found).

The Case for Alternative Pedagogy in HE can be a wide range of methods and approaches – Autonomous learning… leadership/community / group dynamics. Technology…also is probably also going to play an increasing role of course
Harnessing the various elements are what makes for a successful pedagogy. That is not to say however there is no room for traditional’s adapting them to the new kind of conditions ….in the learning.The objective here is to combine ideas and knowledge of what we have and hopefully develop something new that offers an alternative to the current narrative of teaching and learning in HE
And education generally. Active Learning…It’s the new ‘Rock n Roll’ of Global education. However, for now let`s start with a pedagogy that is based on the experiences of the collective of the association, (that everyone is free and equal).

Matthew Love

Chiprovtzi_2014 (1)-012OUR LAST EVENT: Look foreward for the VIDEO DIARY! of our 7thInterdisciplinary


Traveling University:


VIDEO DIARY from the Student Work in Teams HERE:

Chiprovtzi_2014 (1)-014All about 7th International Traveling University: New and Traditional Communities: Between Past and Future, Chiprovtsi, Bulgaria, 2015

Look foreward for the VIDEO DIARY! 


The need for communal belonging and sharing, however, often conflicts with the isolation and alienation stemming from the hyper inpidualization of our communities. The increasing geographical, economic and cultural mobility brought along by globalization processes has created further challenges to preserving established communities. There emerge communities developing new kinds of ‘common life.’ Some of them categorically break with tradition, others categorically return to it, still others rediscover it, attempt to modernize it and hand it down to future generations.

The ‘New Communities in Europe: Between Past and Future’ Traveling University invites us to reflect on the present and evolution of living in communities. Participants will get introduced to specific local examples of new and traditional communities in Northwestern Bulgaria. These communities have the advantage of being examined in their natural environment. In parallel, participants will learn about other such communities in Europe and around the world, based on the principle of intentional communities: ecovillagescohousing,residential land trusts, income-sharing communes student co-ops, spiritual communities, and other projects where people live together on the basis of explicit common values. Still more examples will be drawn from some of the newest types of communal life in Bulgaria: from social networks such as the Food Co-op and Bg-Mamma movements, to civic groups and environmental protection networks such as the For the Nature Coalition and the Save Irakli civic group, to the new forms of ‘informal formal’ association such as our own Place for Future education network.  We will talk about new and traditional communities but we’ll also try to live in a community, even if for a short period. Each day of the Traveling University will include:

  • in the mornings, presentations and discussions of various types of communities;
  • in the afternoons, workshops aimed at group (‘community’) interaction among the participants;
  • introduction to local traditional and innovative types of communal life.

 We will focus on several topics related to coexistence and decision-making in a community:

  • Leadership decisions and majority rule
  • Innovative forms of decision-making (deliberation, democracy of consensus, etc.)
  • Dealing with power imbalances
  • Finding your role in a community
  • Integrating new members

Our topics include:

  • Green jobs: alternative employment or another empty slogan? How can we apply them to small towns such as Chiprovtsi?
  • The lifecycle of cities: dying, nascent, evolving settlements and communities.
  • Migrations and dynamics in the development of metropolises. Mobility and stability. Adaptation to the new social and urban conditions.
  • Growing urbanization and urban policy. Where do humans stand?
  • Protecting cultural heritage: government policies, cultural institutions, formal and informal activities.
  • Real and virtual habitation. The new online communities and their intermingling with the offline world.
  • Pluralism and tolerance. How do we live with the Other–especially under the constant bombardment of media buzzwords such as ‘terrorism’?

We will work in several interdisciplinary groups:

A. Urban planning.
B. Local policy.
C. Green activities.
D. Cultural and social activities.

We’ll endeavour to build upon the ideas from our previous travelling universities.

 For more information about our next and previous Traveling Universities, please see the following links:

Резултат с изображение за място за бъдеще ЧипровциAll about our next International Traveling University in

Chiprovtsi 2015: New and Traditional Communities in Europe: Between Past and Future: Program

7 years Traveling Universities ’Place for Future’ in Chiprovtsi including:

All about Spring University ‘Europe on the Go: Citizen Empowerment and Sustainable Development’, Chiptovtsi 2014:

Video Diary of Spring University ‘Europe on the Go: Citizen Empowerment and Sustainable Development’,

Chiptovtsi 2014:

All about Traveling University and Summer School for Sustainable Regional Development Place for Future, Chiprovtsi 2013:

Video Diary of Traveling University and Summer School for Sustainable Regional Development Place for Future, Chiprovtsi 2013:

More about the region West Stara Planina 


What is ‘Place for Future’?

The PLACE FOR FUTURE network is a broad alliance for informal and alternative education. Our priority over the recent years has been the introduction of sustainable development education and good practices into Bulgarian curricula; and bringing together Bulgarian academic circles with genuine civic initiatives and good practices of civil participation.

The main institutional partners of our education network are:

  • New Bulgarian University, Sofia
  • Institute for the Study of Societies and Knowledge at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
  • Institute of Archaeology with Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
  • La Maison des sciences de l’Homme, Dijon
  • Georges Chevrier Centre at the University of Burgundy
  • Institute of Sociological Studies at Pierre Mendes-France University, Grenoble
  • University Montesquieu – Bordeaux IV
  • Institute of European Studies at Jagiellon University, Kracov
  • Institute of European Studies at Matej Bel University, Banska Bystrica, Slovakia
  • European Association for the Protection of Human Rights
  • For the Nature Coalition
  • WWF – Bulgaria
  • Chiprovtsi Municipality
  • Chiprovtsi, Alternative and Development (CHAR) Association
  • Chiprovtsi History Museum



Radosveta Krastanova:
My Place for a Future
We wish to make the island of public community a significant archipelago. *
The Green Movement and the Green Parties in Bulgaria: Between System Integration and System Change

The Green Movement and the Green Parties in Bulgaria:

Between System Integration and System Change –

a book by Radosveta Krastanova



Shtastlivetsa’s ‘trademark’ are travelling universities. Traditionally, we have organized them in Western Stara Planina since 2009, on the principle of interdisciplinary education through field demonstrations and practice.

‘The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need men who can dream of things that never were!’

John F. Kennedy


Заснемане на цял екран 22.4.2013 г. 015835Pictures from Place for Future: Chiprovtsi 2013



You can make a donation to our Education Network here.


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